On average, 85% of all adults will experience some type of back pain in their lifetime. One of the more common back pain conditions is a herniated disc – a disk injury that may occur anywhere along the spine. The discs are situated between 2 spinal vertebrae and serves as a cushion between each vertebra and helps to lessen the impact of movement. It maintains space between the 2 vertebrae, allowing easy movement of the nerves and blood vessels. With overloading and sudden movements, the disc can either bulge out or in worse cases, rupture and herniate.
Although disc herniation can occur anywhere along the spine, it is most common in the lower back - also called the lumbar region. It is most prominent between the fourth and fifth vertebrae and is caused by a tear or rupture of the central portion of the disc. Based on the degree of herniation, it causes compression of the nerves causing numbness, tingling and weakness, ie. sciatica-like symptoms. It may also cause a shift in the way you stand or sit, the shift is mainly noted on the side opposite to the side of the disc herniation. If the discs in the neck region are affected, neck pain and related arm pain, numbness and tingling may be experienced. Some common causes include:
- Disc Degeneration - As we age, the discs in our spine become weaker and dry out. The dryness contributes to a lack of flexibility as we get older and the discs in our spine become more susceptible to tears and ruptures that lead to herniation.
- Spinal Injury - An injury near or around the spine can lead to developing a herniation of the disc. The discs may tear from the injury around the spine or may weaken and lead to disc herniation.
- Weight - This can also be a factor in disc herniation because the extra weight may strain and cause excess stress on the discs in your lower back, leading to ruptured or bulging discs.
- Genetics - The body may be more likely to develop a herniated disc because of genetics and predisposition to developing this type of injury.
- Occupation - Jobs that are physically demanding and involve repetitive lifting, pulling, pushing, and ultimately straining your back muscles can increase the likelihood of a herniated disc.
Symptoms of Disc Herniation
The indications of a herniated disc depend on the location of the disc herniation and the pressure on the nerves in that area. The most common symptom that is experienced with disc herniation is pain and typically will worsen with activity and movement. However, other symptoms may also include:
- Pain in one or both of the legs or arms
- Numbness or tingling
- Side shift in your spinal alignment
The Effective, Nonsurgical Route for Disc Herniation
According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, even though the pain can be very severe, a majority of patients with disc herniation feel better and recover with the use of nonsurgical treatment. One of the most common initial treatment options your physician will recommend is physical therapy. After identifying the mechanism of your injury, and all the contributing factors, your Luna PT will first help identify positions and movements for pain relief. Managing pain and identifying exercises to correct the side shift if present, are the initial focus. Once ready, your PT will create a personalized, non-surgical plan for your long-term recovery using strengthening and functional exercises to help you optimize your overall health.
Your therapist will focus on exercises that strengthen the muscles in your back and surrounding areas like hip and core. This will help support your spine and reduce your pain. Some treatments your PT will recommend may include:
- Positioning techniques
- Icing or heat techniques
- Manual treatment
- Strengthening exercises
- Stabilization exercises
- Stretching exercises
- Aerobic exercises
Benefits of Luna’s PT Treatment
“If you have a sudden onset of pain and disc herniation injury, it warrants immediate care. The chances of good recovery are higher if physical therapy is received in early days,” says Palak Shah, PT.
Luna’s on-demand PT ensures early access to care in the comfort of your home. Your PT will be able to do a full evaluation of your condition and design a treatment plan that directly targets the area of the disc herniation so you can heal faster.
The PT is able to assess your living situation and the existing equipment at home to form a plan that works best with your lifestyle. They will also make your treatment plan available on the Luna App for easy access and to keep you motivated!
Skip the traveling hassles to a clinic and get the immediate expert care with Luna at your home, when you need it the most. If you’re a patient looking for PT in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Orange County, or Seattle, contact us today. We are here to serve you!
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